Rouen offers the visitor a rich architectural heritage accessible to all in a city where the center is almost completely pedestrianized. Wander through medieval streets amidst half-timbered houses and buildings, the oldest of which date from the 13th century, or visit one of Rouen’s many architectural jewels. Excellent examples of the Gothic style include Rouen’s Notre Dame Cathedral, the abbey church of Saint-Ouen, Saint Maclou church and the Normandy parliament building while the Gros Horloge; the Aître St Maclou or the Hotel de Bourgthéroulde are amongst the finest examples of renaissance buildings in Europe. Apart from the splendor of its architecture, Rouen is renown for many famous historic, literary and artistic characters, including Richard the Lionhearted, Joan of Arc, Pierre Corneille, Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant and, of course, Claude Monet.
A quick video tour of Rouen:
Rouen is truly a museum city. The fine arts museum is home to the second most important collection of Impressionist works in France while the Ceramics Museum or the Secq de Tournelles metalwork museum both offer unique collections unrivaled anywhere in the world. The Natural History Museum and the Museum Gros Horloge have both recently been entirely renovated; their creative exhibitions are delightful.
There is so much to see in Rouen! Dominating the city to the east is Mont St. Catherine. Climb to the viewpoint at the top and take in the spectacular view of the city and the river Seine as it winds its way through the dense green of the surrounding hills. A stroll along the rue de l’Eau de Robec will take the visitor back in time to Rouen’s industrial past. The remaining water mills testify to past glories when cloth manufacturing made Rouen one of the wealthiest cities in France. Even today, the city symbol is a sheep, a reminder that Rouen owed her opulence to the wool en and textile industries. A short walk along the Seine waterfront takes the visitor into the heart of the thriving river port - the largest and most important of its kind in France. At the eastern end of the city stands the imposing new Gustave Flaubert Bridge. Rouen is host to a whole variety of events and lively entertainment; summer nights here are dominated by the Son et Lumière show which transforms the cathedral porch into a living canvass inspired by the works of Claude Monet. A truly awesome spectacle!
The town has 3,700 hotel rooms and more than 150 restaurants and 3,000 shops to welcome you. Rouen offers the visitor a gourmet destination with fabulous shopping opportunities. Fiercely proud of her history and heritage, yet ready to face and to lead the way into this new century, Rouen has so much to offer, We hope that the following pages will give you a sense of the warmth of the welcome that awaits you in this most lovely city in the heart of historic Normandy.
Visit the Rouen Tourist Office website for more information.
Image: The ancient Palace of Justice in Rouen, France
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